In 1966, Timothy Leary got it wrong (not surprising) when he said, "Turn on, tune in, drop out." Research from the U.K.'s University of Exeter and King's College London clearly shows that when you turn on a hearing aid and tune in to what's going on around you, you don't drop out. Quite the opposite happens. You strengthen your connection to the outside world and protect your brainpower.
Those researchers conducted the online study PROJECT, involving more than 25,000 folks 50 and older. It showed that getting a hearing aid as soon as you start to lose acuity is an important way to reduce your risk of dementia. It seems folks who needed to and used a hearing aid were able to demonstrate a stronger working memory, were able to concentrate and pay attention more closely, and had faster reaction times. That makes sense. If you can more easily figure out what's being said, you can remember it and respond to it more quickly!
The problem is that hearing aids are not covered by Medicare (or most insurance plans), and they can be expensive. The solution? Talk to your audiologist about which hearing aid is best for you and then start shopping. Online, Consumer Reports has an extensive section covering almost every hearing aid out there and info on how to find your best price. Hearing aids can run from $140 to $1,900 or more. So, depending on what you need and what you can (or want to) afford, there's something out there for you.
Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic.
(c)2019 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.